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The central process in the manufacture of clothing is the joining together of multiple 2-D fabric pieces to form a 3-D

garment operations that all involve sewing in one form or another. Although there are a large number of different categories of sewing machine, their actual sewing functions are all derived from the same component of sewing.

Stitch formation consists of one or more thread supplies being combined together to form a stitch. These are defined as Intralooping: The passing of one loop of thread through another loop of same thread supply; an example of this type is 101 single thread chain stitch. Interlooping: The passing of a thread through a loop formed by separate thread supply; an example of this is a 401 two thread chain stitch. Interlacing: The passing of a thread around, or over, a separate thread supply or a loop of that supply; an example of this is 301 two thread lock stitch.

Class 100: Chain type Stitches Class 200: Hand Formed Stitches Class 300: Lock Stitches Class 400: Locked Chain stitches Class 500: Over- edging stitches Class 600: Flat Seam or Covering Stitches.

The choice of seam types is determined by aesthetic standards, strength, durability, comfort in wear, convenience in assembly in relation to the machinery available, and cost. Certain seam types are more appropriate for some products and fabrics than others. A seam has three dimensions, length, width, and depth. Seam length is the total distance covered by a continuous series of stitches, such as a side seam or shoulder seam. Seam width considerations are width of a seam allowance, the seam heading of a lapped or a top stitched seam, and the width of a line of stitches relative to the seam. A seam allowance is measured from the cut edge of the fabric to the main line of stitches. Seam depth is the thickness or compressibility (flatness) of a seam.

Seams are formed by sewing two or more pieces of fabric together, but the basis of seam classification is the position of the pieces relative to each other. Many variations in fabric position and treatment account for the many different types of seams in each classification. The Federal Standard 751a, which is the basis of stitch classes identifies four seam classes and two stitching classes. Each class includes many seam types.

The Superimposed Seam (SS) class - is formed by joining two or more pieces of fabric, usually with seam allowance edges even and one piece superimposed over the second. These seams can be sewn with a lock stitch, chain stitch, overedge stitch, or safety stitch. Some examples of superimposed seams are shown below:

The Lapped Seam (LS) class - is defined as two or more pieces of fabric joined by overlapping at the needle. This is the largest seam class, including 101 different seam types, with a great deal of variety as to where a seam is lapped and how it is lapped. These seams are used to attach front band to shirts, setting pockets, side seams of quality dress shirts, side seam or inseam of jeans, and so on. Lapped seams may be stitched with a lockstitch or a chain stitch but not an overedge stitch. Some examples of Lapped seam types are shown below

The Bound Seam (BS) Class - requires a separate piece of fabric that encompasses the edge of one or more pieces of the garment. These seams are used to finish plain necklines, edges of short sleeves on some styles of T-shirts, and so on. Bound seam may be sewn with a lock stitch, chain stitch, or cover stitch. They would never be sewn with an edge stitch as the knife would cut off the binding. Examples shown below:

The Flat Seam (FS) class - is the smallest class with only six different types. The formation of this seam occurs with the butting together of two pieces of fabric, but not overlapping them. Flat seams are constructed to remain flat through care and wear. They are commonly used for seams of sweatshirts, lingerie, and long underwear.

Stitching Classes - The two stitching classes are ornamental stitching (OS) and edge finishing (EF). The finishing of either of these classes is performed on a single piece of fabric. The fabric may be folded in a variety of ways so that the stitching may be through more than one thickness, but it remains a single piece of fabric. Edge finishing is stitching that encompasses the cut edge or provides a finish for a single ply of fabric with a folded edge configuration.

Stitches from any of the classes may be used depending on the type of fold and placement of stitching. Ornamental stitching may be used on a single ply for decorative purposes. It can be done anywhere on the garment except the edge. The decorative stitching may be used on jeans pockets, logos, and pin tucks.

It has been estimated that there are over 3000 different types of sewing machines on the market. This is not surprising in view of the number of products which incorporate sewing in their manufacture. Apart from all types of clothing, there are tents, curtains, bedlinen, upholstery, shoes, luggage, parachutes, etc. all of which contain sewn elements. For the clothing industry there is a great diversity of regular and special machines for sewing every conceivable type of garment and it is this variety which enables clothing manufacturers to employ specialized equipment for their own particular requirements.

Basic Sewing Machines

Sewing Machine

Over-locking machine
Safety Stitching Machine Blind Stitching
Button hole machine
Button Stitching Machine
Bar Tacking Machine

The single-needle lock stich machine has evolved considerably over the past few decades. Some of the features of the machines in common use today are: Speeds of up to 6000 rpm with electronic controls which reduce the time required for acceleration and deceleration Automatic positioning of the needle in an up and down position The automatic cutting of top and bottom threads A back tacking mechanism actuated through the foot pedal or automatically by means of an electronic seam-end sensor. Automatic foot lifting actuated by the foot pedal instead of a manual knee lift Programmable sewing sequences via a microprocessor for repetitive operations.

SNLS - High Speed machine.flv

This is the generic name given to the over-edge stitch machines used to trim and cover the rough edges of the fabric in order to present a clean and neat appearance where seam edges are visible. Over lock machines are also used for the assembly of the some of the knitted articles such as T-Shirts. The over-edge stitch can be formed from one to four threads. Some of the technological highlights of these machines are Speeds of up to 10000 rpm Automatic thread cutting A vacuum system for extracting cloth waste and thread ends Variable feeds for sewing problem materials Creating continuous or intermittent fullness on the top or bottom when joining two plies.

Safety stitching machines have the same features as over lock machines and are used for the simultaneous seaming and over locking of many garments where there is no necessity for pressed open seams. There are two types of safety stitching machines in general use, the main difference between them being the number of threads used to construct the stitching, which consists of a locked chain stitch parallel to an over locked edge. With four thread machine, one of the looper threads of the over lock stitch is used as the bottom thread for the chain stitch. On a five thread machine, each row of stitches has its own threads, i.e. three for the over lock and two for the chain stitch.

These machines are used for the fastening of the hems or facings and, the name suggests, they perform this operation without the stitch impression showing on the right side of the garment. This class of machine uses a curved needle which is designed to slightly penetrate the surface of the fabric but emerges on the same side as it entered. Some of the features of the blind stitch machines are Sewing speeds of up to 2000st/min Automatic thread clipping Automatic needle positioning Pneumatic opening and closing of the work plate One or two thread versions, and with the two thread machine the stitch is locked in order to prevent it unraveling.

A button hole is a straight or shaped slit cut through the garment and then sewn round its edges to prevent fraying and stretching. The cut shape of the button hole and the number of threads used to cover its edges depend upon on the garment type and quantity. For example, the buttonholes in a man s jacket would be strongly constructed to withstand frequent opening and closing, whereas the buttonholes for the women s blouse would have a lighter construction because they are used far less during wear. The advance of the electronic and microprocessor technologies has also made it possible for button holes machines to be programmed to do different lengths and shapes of button holes, enabling greater flexibility and efficiency

Buttons with two holes, four holes or shanks can be sewn on the same machine by simple adjustments to the button clamp and the spacing mechanism. The sewing action consists of a series of parallel stitches whose length is equal to the spacing between the centers of the holes. The needle has a vertical movement only and the button is moved from side to side by the button clamp. Buttons can be sewn on with one or two threads, the number of stitches depending on the type of the machine used. Each machine has a maximum number of stitches, i.e. 16, 24 or 32, and can be adjusted to sew the full amount or half, i.e. 8 or 16, 12 or 24, and 16 or 32.

The bartack machine has many applications in the clothing factory; one of them is the sewing of the dense tack across the open end of a button hole. Each machine sews a fixed number of stitches with the option to change stitch density, and machines are available which sew bartacks containing 18-42 stitches. Some of these types of bartack machines are fitted with A mechanism which signals audibly and visually when the spool thread is below certain level. Automatic thread cutting at the end of the sewing cycle. A two stage pedal which opens and closes the work clamp and also operates the machine. A brake wheel base which enables the machine to be easily moved.

Embroidery is an art form that uses close or overlapping stitches to form intricate, three dimensional, surface designs to embellish piece goods, trims, or garments. Embroidery has evolved from hundreds of years of handwork by dozens of cultures to an established art form today. Today, the embroidery process uses advanced technology to embellish styles and mass produce trims for the garment industry. Embroidery is a flat trim that adds interest and differentiation to a product

Embroidery machines operate on a predetermined stitch cycle that is specific to each design that is sewn. A computer disk or punched tape controls the stitching patterns and needle action. The stitch pattern controls the sequence and time that machine stitches. All needle beds on a machine are controlled by the stitch pattern and operate at the same time or stop at the same time. Stitch patterns are developed by digitizing or punching. There are three types of embroidery machines, each serving a special function.

(1). Schiffli Embroidery Machines (2). Single Head Embroidery machine (3). Multi Head Embroidery Machine.

Schiffli embroidery machines are large, loom like machines used to stitch designs on lengths of piece goods. They are used to embroider piece goods, produce emblems, and make novelty and Venise lace trims. Most machines operate with two frames that hold two fabric lengths of 10, 15, or 21 yards that span the frame. Machine size varies with the production needs. Frames, which are mounted vertically, have controlled vertical and horizontal movements directed by a punched tape or a computer disk. Actions of some types of schiffli machines are controlled by an automat, which is a system of rods, cams, and levers used to read punched tapes and direct embroidery frames in forming a design.

Needles are mounted on two horizontal fixed tracks that span the length of the frames Needle bars move needles horizontally in and out of piece goods in synchronization with frame movement. Borers, which produce fabric and push aside yarns prior to stitching, are mounted directly below the needle bars make eyelet fabrics and trims. Schiffli embroidered fabrics may experience a reduction in yardage because of heavy concentration of stitches. Because of complexity, size, and cost of Schiffli equipment and the specialized training and expertise required to operate it, most of the firms use contractors that specialize in schiffli work. Fabrics can be sent to the contractors to embroider, or embroidered trims can be special ordered.

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Single head embroidery machines are similar to basic lock stitch sewing machines. They were developed for producing small orders and are used for customized garments. Single head machines are most often used for custom work and mono programming. They may be manually operated or computer controlled. Manually operated machines depend on the skilled operator to position and manipulate materials under the needle. Computerized embroidery machines are programmed to stitch the selected design and operator must do is place the garment

Multi-head embroidery machines are similar in operation to single-head machines except they contain two or more heads that stitch the same pattern simultaneously. Smaller areas are the best embroidered with more close-set heads; larger patterns require wider needle range and fewer heads. Each head utilizes 1 to 6 needles and up to 6 colours in stitching a design. Machines are purchased with a specific number of heads.

The optimal number of heads is generally dependent on the firm s average order size, average number of stitches per design, and size of the area to be stitched. Higher stitch counts are more efficiently produced on machines with more heads. Loading time, which entails inserting the fabric or garment component under the machine head, should be less than stitching time if the operation is to be productive. More heads require more loading time, and for designs with a lower stitch count, there is more idle time during the loading process.

Materials required for all embroidery designs are

Piece goods (also called ground or base fabric). Thread Digitized patterns or punched tapes Backings

Piece goods must be sewable, durable enough to withstand a high stitch count and able to maintain dimensional stability. Durable ground fabrics make it possible to use a high stitch count and more overstitching without damaging the piece goods. When ground fabrics are the background for designs, color and surface texture are important factors. Solid stitching designs depend on ground material for support and strength. Medium and light weight fabrics may require backing for additional support.

Threads used for machine embroidery must be lustrous, sewable, and compatible with care procedures for the garment. Thread breakage has a major impact on the productivity of the embroidery process. Thread breakage on one machine head stops production on all the other heads of the machine.

Fibre contents most used for embroidery threads are 100% rayon and 100% polyester. Cotton threads have very limited use. Rayon is the most used embroidery thread because of its luster, wide range of colors, and sewability. Color fastness can be a problem in some care procedures on garments. Polyester thread is stronger and is color fast, and improvements have been made to provide better luster and sewability. Thread size is an important factor in interpreting and digitizing a design. Fine thread requires more stitches to form a design and to fill in an area, but it is frequently regarded as better-quality execution.

Backings are used with embroidery. Embroidery is often backed to provide support, prevent distortion, and produce more aesthetically pleasing designs. Backings for embroidery are usually pieces of non-woven material placed under garment components as they are hooped for stitching. Backings are of varied weight and hand. Backing is often in a place to provide support and better appearance for stitched design, but it can also be very irritating to the wearer.

Machine embroidery uses several basic stitch types that can be varied and manipulated to produce a wide variety of effects. A design should contain more than one type of stitch for best execution.

Steil Stitiches are small, closely aligned stitches that follow a tight back and forth pattern. They are used for edges and reinforcement for scallops, finishing edges of eyelet embroidery and so on.

Blatt stitches are wider (1/8 inch or more) with some back and forth configuration and less tension. Often called satin stitches, they create dramatic textured effects when used in different directions. Blatt stitches require more stitches per inch unless an underlay is used to prevent gapping.

Running stitches form a design with one thickness of thread. They can be placed in any direction and may or may not be covered by other stitching. Running stitches are often used for shading and connecting parts of design. Changing stitch direction changes the way light reflects off the thread and creates an interesting effect. Many variations and combinations of these are used by the digitizer in creating embroidered design.